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International Student - Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the topic below to view frequently asked questions from international applicants. If you have additional questions, please contact us at 303-492-6301 or for assistance. If you are working on your Online Application, view our Frequently Asked Questions about the Online Application.

Admission Requirements

Do you offer conditional admission?

Yes, we offer conditional admission.  The Conditional Admission Program (CAP) at the University of Colorado Boulder is for students whose English proficiency does not meet the requirements for admission into a degree program at CU-Boulder. You will be allowed to start a degree program after you have met the requirement for English proficiency by completing the program.

A section on the application asks me to list the units of certain types of classes I’ve taken. I attended a high school outside the U.S. that did not follow these guidelines. Am I required to complete this section?

If you completed two or more years of your secondary school course work at a non-U.S. high school, you are exempt from the “Minimum Academic Preparation Standards” (MAPS) requirements, both for the admissions process and while a student here. You may feel free to leave this section blank.

How do I send an official copy of my transcript to you?

Our strong preference would be for the schools you’ve attended (high school and any university thereafter) to send us your official transcripts (in English and your native language) directly to:

Overnight/Express Mailing Address (DHL, UPS, Fedex)          

Office of Admissions/International               
University of Colorado Boulder                     
3100 Marine Street - 65 UCB
Bldg RL3 Suite A122
Boulder, CO 80303-1058 USA

For standard international mail or mail within the U.S., including USPS Priority and Express:

Office of Admissions/International
University of Colorado Boulder
3100 Marine St Suite A122
65 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0065 USA

If we can verify their identity, your high school counselor can send an electronic copy of your transcript to, which would count as official. If neither of these methods work, please contact us at to see if there are alternatives we will accept.

Do I need a translation of my transcript?

Official certified copies of your previous academic records (transcripts) are required. All records should be submitted with original stamps. For the following countries, only the official English language transcript is required:

Afghanistan Jamaica South Korea
Antigua and Barbuda Japan Sri Lanka
Australia Micronesia Swaziland
Brunei Nigeria Tadjikistan
Canada (Unless in Quebec) Norway Thailand
Dominica Pakistan Trinidad and Tobago
Ethiopia Rwanda Uganda
Gambia Saudi Arabia UK
Ghana Sierra Leone Zimbabwe
Grenada Singapore  
India South Africa  

For all other countries, all records should be submitted in the native language with original stamps. All credentials written in languages other than English must be accompanied by a literal certified English translation.

What kind of translation should I get, and where can I get it?

You will need to get a literal, certified (or official) English translation. It should not be interpretive, nor should it try to convert the original grades into U.S.-style grades. A certified (or official) translation will be different depending on what is considered an official translation in your country. In some countries, official translations are only issued by the school. In other countries, official government translators issue official translations.  Some countries do not offer translations through a government network, and the student must find a private translation service to issue the translation.  We also suggest that you to visit or consult with Education USA  to see if your local Education USA office offers translations, or can refer you to a service. 

My school will only issue one official transcript. If I have it translated it will be opened and therefore not official. What do I do?

We are willing to temporarily accept photocopies of your transcripts. If you are admitted and decide to attend CU-Boulder, you must present the original official transcript immediately upon your arrival to Boulder.

Will you accept a notary public translation?

We do not accept documents from a notary public as official. This is true for either the translation or a copy of the transcripts in the native language. 

How do you evaluate my transcript? Should I convert my GPA for you?

We do our own in-house evaluation of international transcripts, including converting your GPA as required. There’s no need to try to do this yourself.

Standard secondary education in my country lasts 13 years. Am I eligible to apply after 12 years? Do I get any advantage from that extra year?

If you are eligible to apply to university in your home country, then you are likely also eligible to apply to CU. In some countries where secondary education lasts longer (Germany – 13 year Abitur; UK – AS and A-levels), you may be eligible to receive some transfer credit for any work beyond the 12th year. If you have questions about your country’s education system, please contact

I wasn’t offered admission to the major and college of my choice. If I improve my TOEFL score can I be reconsidered for that college and major?

No. We make a determination about your academic admissibility to a particular major and college based on work other than your English proficiency score. If you were not offered admission to the college to which you applied, that decision was based on factors other than your English proficiency.

I need a formal admission letter but all I’ve received is an e-mail. How can I get an admission letter?

E-mail is an official communication method of the university, so the e-mail you received is indeed your formal admission offer. Another printed (on letterhead), formal admission offer will accompany your I-20. Please contact us at if you need a different document.


For a complete set of frequently asked questions regarding the online application for admission, view the Application FAQs page.

I am a first name user; my family name does not appear on my passport. How should I indicate this on the application?

Please enter the place holder “FNU” (“First Name User”) without quotation marks in place of your family name to indicate to us that you do not use a last name. This not only helps us identify you in our system, but if you are admitted it is how your name needs to appear for immigration purposes. This placeholder is recognized by the U.S. government as such for students who do not use a last or family name.

My name and/or address has a character with an accent in it. Should I enter that in the application?

No, please leave the accent off the letter. Instead, enter the character as if it had no accent.

I’ve applied for permanent residency, but haven’t yet gotten it. Which answer should I select on the application?

If you (or your family) have submitted the I-485 form (Application for Permanent Residency) and you’ve received a receipt for such, then you would be considered a domestic application. If you do not yet have a receipt for this form you are an international student.

I am not a U.S. citizen, but I don’t have a visa yet. Which answer should I select on the application?

You should select the visa type you are planning to apply for. If you do not know which visa type to apply for, select F-1 under ‘Current Visa Type’, as it is the most common visa type for international students seeking a full degree. You may then leave the ‘Issue Date’, ‘Expiry Date’, and ‘Immigration Number’ blank.

What if I am a dual citizen?

If you have dual citizenship and the U.S. is one of the countries, indicate ‘U.S. Citizen’. If the U.S. is not one of them, select the country that will issue your visa.

What if I am considering, or in the process of, changing my visa type?

If you’re changing or considering changing your current visa type please enter the information for what you have now, and please contact us to let us know more about your visa status at



Does my GPA qualify me to be considered for a scholarship?

We review applicants for scholarships at the same time we review their application for admission. We award the Chancellor’s Scholarship to the top 25% of our applicants, and the Presidential Scholarship to approximately the top 1% of our applicants. Generally this means having a GPA of 3.8 or higher (which translates to a perfect or near perfect record: almost all As, perhaps a few A-s, but at most only one or two grades below an A-). Please note that in order to compete for scholarships, international students do need to provide results from an SAT or ACT score, and similarly need to have achieved results from one of these tests equal to the top 25% or 1% or higher of our applicants. You can find the median scores for admitted students under the “Middle 50% of Fall 2013 Admitted Freshmen Applicants by College” button on the Freshman Admission Criteria page. These scholarships are only available to freshman applicants.

We cannot and will not review prospective student’s transcripts to determine if their GPA qualifies them for scholarship consideration. Again, we only determine this based on a complete application, at the same time we’re making our admissions decision.

I can only afford CU if I get a big scholarship. Can you tell me now if I qualify for such?

We cannot and will not review prospective student’s transcripts to determine if their GPA qualifies them for scholarship consideration. We only determine this based on a complete application, at the same time we’re making our admissions decision. So the only way to know if you’ll get a scholarship is to apply and submit all required materials (including SAT or ACT scores). Feel free to contact our office a week after you receive a formal admission e-mail to see if you were also awarded a scholarship (notices of scholarship awards are sent by mail, so therefore may take some time to reach you if you’re outside the U.S.).

 Why do I need to take the SAT or ACT to be considered for a scholarship?

As a state funded institution, we’re only able to award scholarships based on standardized metrics. Therefore we cannot award scholarships based on GPA alone. There needs to be an additional standardized measure of your academic ability. Hence the requirement to provide an SAT or ACT score if you want to be considered for scholarships.

Do you have scholarships to cover the complete cost of my education and living expenses?

On very rare occasions, the Athletics Department can offer full scholarships that cover both tuition and living expenses. You would need to contact the sports team that you would like to play for.  

The College of Music offers full and partial tuition scholarships, but these do not cover living expenses. So if you were awarded one you would still need to demonstrate funding for room and board. They are only awarded to College of Music students.

At the undergraduate level we do not offer any scholarships that would cover the complete cost of your tuition and living expenses. Even if you are awarded our largest scholarship(s), you would still need to demonstrate thousands of dollars of additional funding for your studies here, and you would need this amount to pay your expenses as well. Our funding page for international students has links to additional, non-CU scholarships and resources that may help.

Transfer Credit

I’d like to transfer to CU, but I need to know how many credits I’ll get before I can do so. Can you tell me how many credits I’ll get, and how far along in my proposed major I’ll be?

We only perform transfer credit evaluations for admitted and confirmed students. We cannot and will not be able to do so for prospective students. Furthermore, while our office determines the overall number of credits you will receive, it will be up to your academic advisor (assigned during Orientation) to determine how those credits apply to your major. So we would not be able to tell you how far along you would be in your major; that would only be determined after you arrive. You can find our transfer credit policy and guidelines (including information about transferring credit from international schools) at

If you’ve been attending a college or university in the U.S., you may be able to review your potential transfer credit in advance. CU-Boulder has partnered with Transferology, a college planning and transfer credit resource. Create your free Transferology account to see what courses will transfer to CU-Boulder. Your official transfer credit evaluation will be completed at the time you are admitted to CU-Boulder.. This resource is not yet available for non-U.S. institutions, so if you have only studied outside of the United States, you will have to wait until our office is able to perform a transfer credit evaluation (after you are confirmed) to determine which of your credits will transfer.

What kind of transfer credits will you accept from my non-U.S. school?

We accept transfer credit from international schools based on the same criteria we use to accept transfer credit from U.S. schools: the college or university has to be accredited, the course has to be academic in nature, you have to have earned a grade of C- or higher, and we need to offer a similar course at CU. For these reasons we do not accept transfer credit for English language study. We can only award transfer credit for classes taken pass/fail if your school’s official policy is that a passing grade in such a course is equivalent to a C- or higher.

Confirming Intent to Enroll

As an international student, by when must I confirm my intent to enroll in CU? By when must I submit English proficiency and funding information?

We would strongly prefer you to both confirm your intent to enroll here and to submit all necessary immigration materials (proof of English proficiency and proof of funding) by the preferred deadline for your term. However we have some flexibility regarding this date for international students. Specifically, you need to submit all necessary materials and confirm your intent to enroll with enough time left before the semester starts to obtain your visa and make travel arrangements.

This means that we need to review your immigration materials, issue you the I-20 or DS-2019, and send it to you abroad. You then need to receive the I-20 or DS-2019, schedule and have your visa appointment, and wait for your visa to be issued before you can come and start your studies. Of course we will review your immigration materials as soon as they arrive, and will issue you the appropriate immigration form as soon as we can. There is an option by which you can pay to have the form sent to you by express mail, at your expense.

What is entirely out of our control is the visa application process. Hundreds of U.S. embassies and consulates issue these visas, and each has a different timeframe for issuing them. We do not monitor each embassy’s timeframe for this process (in part because every visa application case is distinct and can take different amounts of time), but we have found these visas can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to be issued. Contact the embassy or consulate where you’ll be going for your interview for an estimated timeframe, or talk to other students who have been through the process there. Those are the best sources of information for how long the visa application process itself might last.

If you are admitted but know you cannot submit the necessary items by the confirmation deadline, please let us know when exactly they will be submitted. The later the submission date, the more likely we are to recommend requesting a deferral to a later semester. For students outside of the U.S., we cannot consider the results of English proficiency tests taken after May for Fall start term or after October for Spring start term -- they will arrive too late to complete the process.  If you are already in the U.S. and if your immigration status will not be changing before you attend CU, we do have more flexibility.


Who is an international student?

We distinguish international from domestic students based on their immigration status - that is, whether they will be attending CU on visa. Anyone who plans to study at CU while on a valid visa of any sort is considered an international student. Anyone attending without a visa would be considered a domestic applicant.

I’ve applied for permanent residency, but haven’t yet gotten it. Am I a domestic or international student?

If you or your family have a receipt for the submission of your I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence) form, you should indicate on the application even if your permanent residency has yet to be granted. You would be considered a domestic applicant. If your application for permanent residency is later denied, please let us know immediately at

I’m a dependent of a current visa holder. Am I allowed to study at CU? Do I still need to meet the English proficiency requirement? Do I still need to complete the financial statement?

Generally dependents of most visa types are allowed to apply for and enter full time study at our university. Common examples are  E-2, L-2, H-4, and A-2 visa holders. However, if you have one of these visas now, you should note that most dependent children age out of their visa status when they turn 21. Therefore, before you turn 21, you would need to change your status to that of a student. This can be done either by: 1) exiting the U.S. and applying for and obtaining a new visa in order to re-enter in that status and continue your studies; or 2) by applying for a change of status within the USA. Please e-mail us at for further details if this might apply to you.

Two exceptions are worth noting:

1) Neither F-2 nor B-2 dependents can be full time students. Those dependents can take a class or two in a non-degree seeking capacity if it is “incidental” to their visa and if they enroll for “vocational or recreational” purposes. Those students would need to work with the Office of Continuing Education in order to take a course.

2) Students on dependent visas do not need to demonstrate funding in order to finalize their admission if they remain in that dependent visa status, but if they do not qualify for an exemption for English proficiency, they do need to demonstrate such based on a TOEFL or IELTS result.

Do you require proof of my citizenship and visa type for admission?

We do not require these for admission to the university, but misrepresenting them on your admission application would be considered a violation of the honor code, and you could therefore be denied or have your admission offer rescinded. Please note that when admitted, International Student and Scholar Services will ask to see a copy of your passport and I-94 for their records.

When do I need to provide my financial statement?

You do not need to provide the financial statement in order for us to determine if you are academically eligible for admission. However, you would need to provide this document before we could finalize your admission and issue you the necessary immigration forms.

When do I need to provide my TOEFL or IELTS score?

You do not need to provide your TOEFL or IELTS score in order for us to determine if you are academically eligible for admission. However, you would need to provide these results, and they would need to be the sufficient score, before we could finalize your admission and issue you the necessary immigration forms.

Who can I bring with me as a dependent?

Dependents are limited to your immediate family, which is defined as your spouse and children. Parents, grandparents, siblings, nieces, and nephews cannot be dependents.


How do I get an I-20?

In order for our office to generate an I-20 for you, you need to complete the online application, submit all required materials, be reviewed for and offered admission, and meet all immigration regulations (which include proof of English proficiency and proof of funding). Our office by law cannot issue I-20s until all of these things have been done.

How do you arrive at the estimate for living expenses?

The Office of Financial Aid publishes a Cost of Attendance Budget every year and estimates the rates of room and board, medical, and personal costs.

I looked up tuition rates and they appear lower than what’s on the financial statement. Can I only demonstrate tuition for the program to which I’ve applied?

No. We require the baseline rate which appears on the financial statement. At this time, we are unable to issue I-20s that are customized to each student’s situation.

I looked up tuition rates and they appear higher than what’s on the financial statement. Will I only have to pay what it asks me to show on the financial statement?

No. The financial statement is an estimate only. It does not matter if the financial statement’s estimate is lower than the actual tuition. You will still be responsible for the full and actual tuition. Similarly, the figures for living expenses and books and supplies are also estimates. If your expenses go over the estimates, they are your responsibility.

If I live off campus do I still need to demonstrate living expenses funding?

Yes. While the estimate for living expenses is based on rates for living in campus housing, you should expect to pay at least a similar amount (if not more) if you’ll be living off campus. So the living expenses line is an estimate for either on- or off-campus living. If you have family that lives nearby, and if you plan on living with them and getting your meals from them, we can reduce the amount on the financial statement by the living expenses estimate, if they’ll write a letter stating that this is the case.

I will be exclusively buying and renting used text books and my program doesn’t require many extra supplies. Can you reduce the “Books and Supplies” costs on the financial statement? I can’t imagine spending nearly ,000 on books in a year…

No. Of course it’s common sense to try and find used books for your studies, but they are not always available. New textbooks can cost several hundred dollars each, and lab fees for certain courses can run similarly high. This estimate based on our experience, so please do be ready to spend at least this much (if not more), if necessary.

My spouse will be looking for a job as soon as he/she arrives. Can I thereby avoid demonstrating additional funding for them?

No. Holders of some dependent visas are not authorized to work in the U.S., so they are ineligible to hold a job. Also, a possible future job is not evidence of current ability to pay. Therefore you must demonstrate the full amount required.

I can meet the immigration regulation to provide proof of funding based on personal or family funds, but I’m hoping to get a student loan, or to find outside scholarships. If I provide proof of person or family funds in order to satisfy the regulation, am I or my family obligated to pay if other funding becomes available?

No. While your family or sponsor is stating that they will support you in your studies when they complete the “Affidavit of Support” on the second page of the financial statement, they are not obligated to pay if additional sources of funding become available. If you won’t find out about such scholarships or loans until a later date, we would suggest submitting the financial statement with your family or sponsor’s demonstration of funding.  

I was admitted, but the source of funding as stated on my I-20 has changed. Should I get a new I-20 to reflect this? What if I already have my F-1 visa?

Yes, you should get a new I-20 to reflect the funding change. Please let us know this information immediately, so we can update it in the SEVIS system. If you already have your F-1 visa, and there is no time to get the new I-20  to you, you can use the current I-20 to enter the U.S.A. Immigration officials have access to that database, so you should bring the new financial documentation reflecting the funding change with you when you travel, in case they ask for it. Of course we’ll be happy to provide a letter from our office noting the change of funding as well.

If there is time to get a new I-20 to you, we can mail it to you so you have it with you before you travel.

Whenever any information that appears on your I-20 changes, please let us know immediately at

How long does it take to get my I-20? Can you send it by express mail?

If it is sent by regular post (which is free) the delivery time on your I-20 can vary greatly. If you’re in Canada it could be there in about two weeks. If you’re elsewhere in the world, we’ve found that it typically takes about 4-8 weeks. If we send it by regular post there is no tracking number, and therefore no way to tell where it is, or if it’s been lost. There is an option by which this form can be sent to you by express mail, at your expense, if you’re interested. If you choose this option your I-20 can be delivered to most parts of the world within about 5 business days. If you’re interested in this option you should reply to your formal admission e-mail with a request for information about it. We will not provide this information earlier, in order to avoid having orders placed for I-20s that are not ready.

 I’ve been waiting for my I-20, but it hasn’t yet arrived. Can you send me another copy?

If you’ve waited more than 8 weeks (based on the receipt of your formal admission e-mail) for your I-20 and it hasn’t yet arrived, we’d be happy to reprint and resend it to you. Please let us know about this by e-mailing

I’ve been admitted, and I’m trying to pay the SEVIS fee online. Can you send me a scan of my I-20? The SEVIS site is asking for information from it.

Federal regulations prevent us from scanning and e-mailing or faxing this document to you. However if you send an e-mail to, we’ll be happy to provide you with the necessary information from your I-20.

The major that appears on my I-20 is not the exact name of the major/department to which I was admitted. Is this an error?

Not all majors at CU-Boulder have their exact names in the federal (U.S. government) SEVIS system, so there’s a chance that the major on your I-20 will not match your major at our school. This is not an issue - visa officers understand that the names of majors may be different from your I-20 and admission letter. For example, all new students in the Leeds School of Business will have “Business Administration and Management” as the major on their I-20 even if they were admitted to Finance, Accounting, or Marketing. If you’re admitted to the College of Arts and Sciences, Open Option major, this major will appear as “Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies” on your I-20. It is also OK if your major name appears to be cut off. If these differences apply to you there is no error on your I-20, and therefore nothing needs to be fixed.

I received the I-20, but there’s an error on it. What should I do?

It will depend on the kind of error. Your name and birth date need to match your passport exactly (except for accent marks in your name), so if there are errors there they will need to be changed. (For this purpose it’s a good idea to review your personal information in your MyCUBoulder account as soon as you’ve created one, as your I-20 information will be pulled directly from that data.) If your major name appears incorrect, please first check your admission letter to make sure that you were indeed admitted to the school and major for which you applied, and then check our response to the previous question. If there still appears to be an error in your major name, that will need to be corrected.

If the name of your sponsor is completely wrong, that will need to be corrected. If the difference is a matter of spelling, and if the spelling is correct within two or three characters, we’ve found that a letter from our office is sufficient for visa officers who might notice the difference, and the form therefore does not need to be corrected. Lastly, if the form is not signed in blue ink we’ll need to send you another. Please communicate any issues with your I-20 to

I provided a bank statement that demonstrated more funding than what’s required, but my I-20 only shows my sponsor has the minimum amount necessary. Can you change the form to reflect the full amount demonstrated on the bank statement?

The immigration regulation you are satisfying when providing a bank statement is for “proof of funding”. As long as you provide a statement which shows at least the minimum amount, there’s no need to state exactly how much was there. We therefore only state that we received evidence that your sponsor or family has sufficient funding as we require, which is the amount on the financial statement. You’ll need to independently prove to your visa officer that this amount exists, so be sure to bring these statements with you to your visa appointment. They will then see exactly how much funding was demonstrated. We will not change I-20s to reflect the total we saw in your bank statements.

If I’m awarded the Presidential, Chancellor’s, or Norlin scholarships how much funding would I need to demonstrate?

Each scholarship features an annual award amount. You can subtract the scholarship amount you will receive for your first year at CU-Boulder from the total required amount needed on the financial statement. For example, if you have received the Chancellor’s Scholarship, you can subtract ,000 from the total amount you need to provide to us for the first year.